The Story of the Volsungs & Niblungs with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda. Translated from the Icelandic by Erikr Magnusson and William Morris. William Morris.
The Story of the Volsungs & Niblungs with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda. Translated from the Icelandic by Erikr Magnusson and William Morris.

The Story of the Volsungs & Niblungs with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda. Translated from the Icelandic by Erikr Magnusson and William Morris.

1876. London: F. S. Ellis, 1870.

8vo, xx, 275, [4, ads]pp. Full dark green cloth heavily decorated in gilt, by Philip Webb (see below). Contemporary bookplate. A very good copy in the original binding.

§ First edition of this landmark book, limited to 750 copies. "The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (1876) is an epic poem of over 10,000 lines by William Morris that tells the tragic story, drawn from the Volsunga Saga and the Elder Edda, of the Norse hero Sigmund, his son Sigurd (the equivalent of Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied and Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung[1][2]) and Sigurd's wife Gudrun. It sprang from a fascination with the Volsung legend that extended back twenty years to the author's youth, and had already resulted in several other literary and scholarly treatments of the story. It was Morris's own favorite of his poems, and was enthusiastically praised both by contemporary critics and by such figures as T. E. Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw. In recent years it has been rated very highly by many William Morris scholars, but has never succeeded in finding a wide readership on account of its great length and archaic diction. It has been seen as an influence on such fantasy writers as Andrew Lang and J. R. R. Tolkien."

In the BL binding database it is noted: "See: Haslam, Malcolm. Arts and Crafts Book Covers. Shepton Beauchamp, Richard Dennis, 2012, no. 65. The design is by Philip Webb. Both covers are blocked identically in gold, with a symmetrical pattern of ‘five flowers’, four birds in flight – all joined by a mass of curling stems and leaves, on the upper cover, bottom left, the words: “De Lacy” [the die cutter] are blocked in gold in small letters." This binding can be seen as a pre-cursor of and influence on the Cranford Series, predating it by two plus decades. Its lavish cover design is remarkable. Item #124278

Price: $695.00

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